Professional development

Strategies from the NAFA CAFM Program help managers sharpen their leadership skills to advance technician performance and shop productivity.


Effective leaders are made, not born. They learn from trial and error and from experience.

As was mentioned previously, leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills, says Russo. Just being in a position of authority and power does not make a person a leader, but rather, simply makes them a boss.

The NAFA CAFM Program teaches that there are 11 principles of leadership:

Know yourself and seek self-improvement. - Understand your attributes and work on continually strengthening them.

Be technically proficient. - Know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees’ tasks.

Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. - Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. When things go wrong, and they always do sooner or later, don’t blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action and move on to the next challenge.

Make sound and timely decisions. - Use good problem solving, decision making and planning tools.

Set the example. - Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see.

Know your people and look out for their well-being. - Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.

Keep your workers informed. - Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.

Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers. - Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.

Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished. - Communication is the key to this responsibility.

Train as a team. - Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc., a team, they are not really teams but rather just a group of people doing their jobs.

Use the full capabilities of your organization. - By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc., to its fullest capabilities.


At some time or another, all leaders must deal with change. In today’s highly competitive business world, change must be quickly dealt with. Good leaders help make change smooth and as painless as possible by making others want to be part of it. No easy task, as the typical reaction to change is to resist it.

“People get comfortable performing tasks and processes a certain way,” Russo says. “This comfort provides them with the security that they are the masters of their environment. They fear that change could disrupt their lives by making them look like a fool by not being able to adapt and learn, making their jobs harder, loosing a sense of control, etc.”

Leaders can help the change process by changing their employees’ attitude from avoidance into acceptance, the NAFA CAFM Program instructs. This is accomplished by changing employees’ avoidance questions and statements into acceptance questions:

From “Why?” to “What new opportunities will this provide?” When workers ask “why,” focus on the benefits that the change will provide them and the organization. “Do not feel uncomfortable if you are feeling hesitation about the change too,” Russo offers. “You are also human. By spelling out the benefits, you will not only comfort them, but help to convince yourself too.”

From “How will this affect me?” to “What problems will this solve?” Anything that prevents something from being better is a problem. Let workers know what the problem is and how they will be part of the solution.

From “We don’t do it this way” to “What would it look like?” One of a worker’s first reactions often is: It has never been done this way or it cannot be done this way. “Show them, provide plenty of explanations and compassion, and get your team to ask and answer questions,” says Russo.

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